Santa Cruz, CA to Augusta, ME and Back

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by teachnsurf, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. teachnsurf

    teachnsurf Bonnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    254
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Just a teaser, I'm leaving on Wednesday for Augusta, ME. My first stop is Carson City, NV

    I'll be taking my '09 Triumph Bonneville. I meet my buddy at Mt. Rushmore on June 29th. Hopefully the weather will be friendly.

    I'll keep y'all up to date.

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    #1
  2. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Toronto
    Nice setup.. bon voyage :thumb

    :lurk
    #2
  3. the darth peach

    the darth peach eats crackers in bed

    Joined:
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    :lurk
    #3
  4. Tslapper

    Tslapper #!

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    Mainely here
    I work in Augusta and the house is fairly close by. I'd like to see what your bike looks like when you get here. :D


    Have a great ride!
    #4
  5. teachnsurf

    teachnsurf Bonnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    After many years of teaching, nine to be exact, I finally got to a place where I could spend a decent amount of my summer vacation traveling. The first place I went was Costa Rica. I had dreamed of surfing warm waters since the first day I stood up on a board. While in Costa Rica, I realized I had it pretty good –ten months of the year doing something I love, another month vacationing, and another summer month just hanging out in Santa Cruz. While in Costa Rica, I vowed to return to the same place, Mal Pais/Santa Tersesa, to see how much this beach side hamlet would change in one year.

    In the summer of 2008, I returned and had another amazing time. Along with a dozen other surfers, I watched the tides, bided my time till the surf was pumping, and spent the nights singing on the beach. I vowed to return to the same place, Mal Pais/Santa Tersesa, to see how much this beach side hamlet would change in another year.

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    In late November of 2008, I went to the American Airlines website to book my ticket. Booking my ticket at this time of year always helps me get through the cold, dark days of winter. The reservation serves as my light at the end of the tunnel. But, there was a problem. The economy was crap and airline ticket prices were sky-high. I didn’t think that I could afford to go back to Costa Rica for the summer of 2009. So, I went to Plan B.

    B is for Bonneville. Rewind to August of 2008. After many years off of a motorcycle, I purchased an early 2009 model Triumph Bonneville. Styled after the classic lines of the ’68, the bike had the latest motorbike conveniences like disc brakes, and electronic fuel injection. On the day I purchased the bike, I joked to Leah that I was going to ride this bike cross-country. Because this bike was purchased in 8 of ’08 with just 8 miles on the odometer, I christened her 8.

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    Back to November of 2008. With airline tickets priced the way they were, I decided to ride 8 cross-country and back. Not wanting to ride solo the whole time, I called my great friend Ben who lives in New York. Ben also rides. He happens to own the fastest production bike currently available, the Kawasaki ZX-14. The bike is terrible fast and comes with a factory installed speed limiter so it cannot break 186 mph. I guess 187 mph is just too fast. When I first mentioned this trip to Ben, I received a fairly cold response. Three days later, he seemed quite interested. Fortunately, he mentioned the trip to his girl friend. Shee said that it seemed like a great idea, and he should go. The wheels were in motion.

    For this summer, I also made plans to go to Connecticut with my girlfriend and her boys for our summer vacation. She would show us where she grew up, we’d get to spend time with her folks, and we get to be a part of a reunion of her high school friends. I decided that my journey would wrap itself around this week.

    My plan started to take form:
    • Meet Ben somewhere between Santa Cruz and Manhattan. We decided on Mt. Rushmore.
    • Spend a week riding with Ben. Go to North Carolina to ride the Tail of the Dragon and see some friends and their newborn daughter in Raleigh.
    • Meet up with Girl and the boys for our week back East.
    • Spend another week or so motoring my way back home.
    One more day to go…
    #5
  6. david7774

    david7774 Adventurer

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    H.S.Va
    :lurk
    #6
  7. teachnsurf

    teachnsurf Bonnie Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    First of all, kudos to all who do ride reports. I didn't know how much work it takes after a day of riding.

    Day 1:

    The morning was gray when I woke up, not quite what I imagined over the past few days. I saw myself loading my bike under the sunny, blue skies of the Hill. Regardless, with a slight nervous feeling in my belly, I loaded up 8.

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    It was an odd feeling pulling out of my driveway knowing that it be a month and several thousand miles before I would pull back in.

    Once I hit the highways, I tried to get settled. Once I crested the summit of 17 the sky was blue and the sun was already starting to warm the day. I pulled into Los Gatos to take off my sweater and change my gloves. It's a good thing, because over the following few hours, it got warm, really warm. Hot, even.

    Fortunately, it was a very uneventful ride across the Central Valley to the foothills of the Sierras. I got gas once and calculated that I'm getting about 50 miles to the gallon. Once I got to Placerville, I decided to grab some lunch. This building looked interesting so I decided to go in.



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    It's a historic building and home to the Cozmic Cafe. They serve a very yummy and health filled tuna wrap.

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    One for the Lost and Found Files: One of the many things I've loved about my Costa Rica trips was the camaraderie among traveling surfers. This trip is a bit more solitary: me and my bike. So, the daily human connections that I'm used to will depend on the friendliness of strangers and me.

    When I walked into the Cozmic, I was greeted by the smiling face of a young woman who was laptopping in the cafe. As I was ordering my meal at the counter, she came up to me and asked, "Did you teach in Santa Cruz?"

    "I still do," I replied with surprise.

    She introduced herself as Alyse, the woman formerly engaged to a guy who works at my school. Now, she works in Coloma as a river guide.

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    After lunch, I gassed up for my trip to Carson City. And it was a blast. The previous highway miles were mostly multi-lane interstate, known as "the slab" to riders. But the other side of Placerville offered two to four lane roads with fast sweeping turns and magnificent views. There's always delight when pulling around a corner and seeing the snow-crested Sierras.

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    Hwy 50 runs parallel to the S. Fork of the American River. The quick glimpses of the river was the only relief I had from the heat. All in all, the heat was the only uncomfortable part of the ride. Cruising without a windscreen hasn't been a problem.

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    One thing I was looking forward to on this ride was coming around a turn and seeing Lake Tahoe. It's a moment in the Hwy 50 drive that I remember from my childhood summer vactaion road trips with my folks.

    Bliss above Lake Tahoe.

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    The ride down to the lake was great. The weather cooled and the vistas were rewarding.

    I have never been to Carson City so the ride there from Tahoe was new and exciting. I wish I had a picture to show how dramatically the landscape changes once out of the Tahoe basin and into the flats of Nevada.

    Once in Carson City, I checked into the Best Western. The room is nice for what it is, and I recommend the place to anyone who needs a simple room. Unfortunately, there is no fridge so I had to find another way to keep my Coke cool.

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    Then I was often to capture my first State Capitol photo. That's a big part of my trip - my picture in front of capitols. I'm hoping to get at least 20 from this trip.

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    For a Wednesday, the Capitol grounds were surprisingly empty. I guess I imagined there would be much hustle and bustle as state employees try to take care of The Silver State in these tough economic times. I only saw three state employees.

    I strolled around the grounds to satisfy my curiosity and came upon a couple of owls. Now, I love birds, and I love seeing birds I've never seen before. And before this day, I've seen just one wild owl. It was early morning on the Westside of Santa Cruz. You have to look closely to see them. The two are to the right of the window.

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    I'm lured to interesting buildings and by good fortune, this one had a restaurant which was hosting Wednesday jazz night.

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    I had a nice pint a chicken Caesar salad. I also met a pretty neat guy named Chris. He has seen much of the world and can fix any communication device from radios to satellites. He grew up in Erie, PA (perhaps Shannon knows him) and turns 24 in a couple of months. He's also one of the few, the proud, the Marines.

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    I spent the rest of the evening listening to jazz and then walked back to the BestWest for sleep.

    Day 2 will be quite a ride. I'm crossing the state of Nevada via Interstate 80 to Wendover, UT. It's home to the Bonneville Salt Flats. The Triumph Bonneville is named after the land speed record which was set there in 1956 by Johnny Allen. He hit an average two-way run speed of 214 miles per hour. I won't be going over 70 on this trip.
    #7
  8. teachnsurf

    teachnsurf Bonnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    254
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Day 2: Carson City, NV to Wendover, UT, 415 miles.

    Whoever said that a watched pot never boils never used a Jetboil. Starting my morning off right with Petes.

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    After I loaded up my bike,

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    I tried to imagine what the motorbiking experience would be like on one of these.

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    I took Hwy 50 out of Carson City and was immediately struck by the features of the land. This is a rugged place. The land is harsh, the formations imposing. Even the names of the places are rough, like Iron Creek, Battle Mountain. Even its capital, Carson City, shares its with frontiersman Kit Carson.

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    I followed 50 and hooked up with I-80 via 95. I didn’t take many pictures today because of the miles I had to do. I really wish I could have. The landscape is phenomenal. I had no idea of Nevada’s beauty. Once I got to Winnemucca, the landscape and weather changed. Quite abruptly, it was cool and the land was green. To my surprise, I saw more green landscape than dry desert. I always thought all of Nevada was dry desert like its southern portion. Although it was quite tiring crossing the state, I’m really glad I did it to experience its beauty.

    It is difficult to describe experience of travel through a landscape on a motorbike. At times, it feels like I’m flying through the scenery. Fortunately, my iPod is wired through my helmet so I can sing to my heart’s content. Jack Johnson accompanied my morning desert ride. My iPod is set on shuffle, and it’s really fun when a Dead song pops up.

    I took a break/got gas every 60 to 100 miles. It depended a bit on how far the next gas station was. I'm getting about 50 miles to the gallon and my tank hold about 4 gallons, but I don't think all of the fuel is attainable due to some getting "stuck" on one side of the tank. One place I stopped was Battle Mountain. There, I ran into an older gentleman touring on a big white scooter. He was in Yellowstone a few days ago and he told me about the wild bison. While he scooting along, some bison starting crossing the road so he stopped to let them pass. But, more bison came along behind him, and before he knew it, he surrounded by the beasts. They were so close he could have reached out to pet them. He came out unscathed, but from the way he told the story, it was clear he was a bit worried.

    The "Owl" is the only eatery in Battle Mountain.

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    I stopped in Elko, NV, for a very late lunch. I should have eaten earlier because I was very drained by the time I stopped for a BLT at a Basque and American restaurant. It was opened a couple of months ago by two brothers from San Francisco.

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    The clouds came in during late afternoon. Here's the view looking west from West Wendover, that's the Nevada side. Wendover is the Utah side.

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    I’m not too sure what I’m going to do on Day 3. It all depends on the weather. If Colorado looks rain free, I’ll dip down. If it’s chancy, I’m going to stop somewhere between Salt Lake and Cheyenne.
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  9. T O Double D

    T O Double D Pogue Mahone

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    930
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    :lurk

    Santa Cruz sure does have a lot of ADVers! Can't wait for the rest.
    #9
  10. Jedi5150

    Jedi5150 Road Warrior

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    636
    Location:
    Central California

    We do! Scibeer (Bill) and Bykpimp (Spanky) are two great Santa Cruz ADVer's I've met in person. I live on Ft. Ord but work in Santa Cruz.

    Teachnsurf, great RR so far! :clap I like the pace you're traveling at, you get to see and enjoy a lot more when you're doing 300-400 mile days. And very cool bike. When you get back to Santa Cruz I'll have to keep my eye out for it on the road. My wife really likes the looks of the V7 Classic and thinks it might be her first bike (once we can afford one:lol3 ).

    For what it's worth, I also love I-80 through Nevada. But it often isn't as green as you saw it. I think the green you saw has a lot to do with the rain and hail I rode through last week in the same area. :eek1 Your experiences in Battle Mountain, Elko and Wendover were much more enjoyable than mine. I had a dead battery and was almost stranded in all three places. :lol3 Here is a link to my RR from last week:
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=478325

    Stay safe and keep the updates coming! I can't wait to see the rest of your trip. :lurk
    #10
  11. teachnsurf

    teachnsurf Bonnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    254
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    This morning I had the choice of zipping over to Salt Lake City for my Capitol pick and then dipping down to Colorado to camp for the night and then cruise over to Denver tomorrow or riding to Salt Lake City and spending the night there. Because of the weather forecast, I decided the chance of rain in Colorado was too likely. So, I made a reservation in SLC and started packing my bike.

    Just out of Wendover is the Bonnieville Salt Flats. That was my first destination of the day. So after getting gassed up, I headed out to the flats.

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    Because of last night’s rains, the flats were too damp to run on, but the straight roads provided a fun place to twist the wrist.

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    The skies were full of different kinds of weather. To the south and west, the skies were clear and blue. To the north and east, the skies were dark and heavy. Wouldn't you know it? I was heading NE.

    One neat thing about this open country is that I am able to see where the rain is falling. In the case, I could see the rain ahead of me. In fact, most of the highway I rode today was wet while the sky above me was clear. I was just riding behind the rain. When it looked like I was going to ride into the rain, I just took a ten minute break to let it get ahead of me. This strategy worked for 100 of 120 miles of riding. The 20 miles in the rain wasn't bad at all. Because of the weather, I had to pull out my cool weather gloves and a sweater. It was a nice change.

    On my way into SLC, I decided to take a detour to Triumph Motorcycles of Salt Lake City. I found it to be a great dealership, highly recommended. While there, they performed a 6,000 miles service a few hundred miles early and switched out my front sprocket from 18 teeth to 19 teeth. This will lower my high speed cruising rpms in exchange of some "get up and go" off of the line. The work took about two hours so I filled out some postcards and did some shopping for my next motorbike; they have BMWs too.

    Once I got to downtown Salt Lake, I checked into my place and went for a stroll to the Mormon Temple.

    It was good to see that pedestrian safety is a priority.

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    When I arrived at the Mormon Center, which the town was built around, I decided to go into the Hotel Utah, which has been renamed the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. Joseph Smith had the good forutne of being visited by the Angel Moroni. The angel told Joseph Smith where to find gold plates - rectangular pices of gold with etched writing, not disks - which contained the words of North American prophets. Apparently, after He resurrected, Jesus visited North America to share his wisdom. Before he was an angel, Moroni was the son of Mormon, the prophet who took all of the other prophets' writing and put it into one book, The Book of Mormon. The sisters at the Visitors' Centers were quite willing to answer any and all questions I had.

    Anyway, the glass ceiling of the lobby is amazing, and I found a really cool room.

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    After a walk through the hotel, I went over to the Temple, which seemed more like a cathedral to me.

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    I couldn't believe the size of the temple. It took 40 years to complete and the granite stone was hauled over 20 miles by wagons, which were pulled by four to six oxen.

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    It occurred to me, that SLC is to the Church of Jesus Christ of the Later-Day Saints what the Vatican is to Roman Catholics.

    The world headquarters.

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    I found it curious that the State Capitol was placed on a hill outside of the city's heart. I couldn't figure out if it was because the gov't wanted to look over the city or if it was a snub; the gov't wasn't really welcomed by the people of Utah.

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    While walking around, I saw cool things like a tall brick building. Because of earthquakes, we don't have many of these in California.

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    I also saw a cool horse made of engine parts such as timing chains, piston rings, valve stems and springs, connecting rods, pistons, and other things I can't name.

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    This building is for sale, but the buyer has to pay for shipping. Look closely, and you'll see wheels.

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    Tomorrow, I'm going up to the Capitol to get my pic and then off to Rock Springs, WY.
    #11
  12. teachnsurf

    teachnsurf Bonnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    254
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    I had a great day on the road. I packed well this morning and was able to fit everything into my bags. For some reason, I was unable to pack my jeans in any of my bags. I made coffee, listened to Weekend Edition, and carefully bagged all of my things.


    Before I hit I-80, I rode up State Street to the Capitol building. The thing is massive and beautiful. Next time I do this trip, I'm going to make the time to take tours of each one.



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    Bliss at Utah's Capitol.

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    There is a beautiful view to the southeast from Capitol Hill.

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    Because I had few miles to do today, I took the time to take I-80 Alt Business Loops.



    I have a very romantic view of "old America," and Coalville, UT is exactly what I imagined: a post office, a mercantile store, a couple of other stores, and a total of two blocks of commercial district.


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    I love old brick buildings. Because of our earthquakes, we don't have many left. I'm amazed every time I think that each brick was laid by someone's hand.

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    I took another loop through Fort Bridger, WY, and was treated with a stunning view of the Rockies. I found the landscape in the mid-ground to be out of this world.


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    Because of a tail wind, today's ride was extremely comfortable and easy. When there's a head wind, it's a bit of work to hang on to the bike.


    Now, I'm hanging out in Rock Springs, WY, known for one of America's worst race riots - Chinese miners v. non-Chinese miners.


    Tomorrow I'm off to Cheyenne to grab another Capitol.
    #12
  13. johnnywad

    johnnywad Out to Lunch

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    207
    Location:
    USA, On the left side of the Map
    Wish I had known you were passing through Placerville, I park next to the old soda works building every day. Would like to have said hi. Enjoy your excellent adventure.

    PS, I also own a pub in Monterey, when you get home PM me and I'll hook you up for a drink.:D
    #13
  14. optimum_malarky

    optimum_malarky Premium nonsense

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    401
    Location:
    Northern California.... twisty
    Hello from another Bay Area teacher! I teach high school English in Cupertino and have enjoyed your ride report so far. It seems that we share similar sentiments about our chosen career paths and the advantages that summer can offer! My wife and I are leaving for Glacier National Park on Thursday, so I am excitedly reading about Bay Area ADVriders venturing east. Keep up the good work and enjoy your ride!

    By the way, I love your bike!
    #14
  15. teachnsurf

    teachnsurf Bonnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    254
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    I had some exciting moments today. It started when I had to travel east using one of the westbound lanes because the eastbound lanes were being prepared to be repaved. It's unexplainably thrilling to be at cruising speed and have a westbound truck pass no more than eight feet to the left with nothing more than orange cones to keep the two sides apart. It's a real blast.


    It got crazier when I decided to pull over. Keep in mind, I'm surrounded by nothing buy wonderfully green prairie. In my right hand mirror, it looked like my tail bag had shifted over to the right so I wanted to get off the Interstate to straighten it out. An exit appeared, and I crossed the ditch, which serves as the median between eastbound and westbound. When I reached the eastbound lane which would bring me to the off ramp, I suddenly realized that the road way was totally torn up. 8 started hopping and skipping left and right like an Irish dancer. I immediately rolled off the throttle.


    When I got to the off-ramp, I quickly discovered it was covered in loose gravel. "OOOOOO!!! GRAVEL!!!" I wanted to slow down without delay, but sudden breaking in loose gravel can lead to some "interesting" forward and side-ways dynamics. So, I down shifted two gears and road out the speed. As all this was happening I thought to myself, "I'm glad I got those dual-purpose tires. I finally get to use them in gravel." Eventually, I came to a stop and readjusting my bag.


    Then, it got really interesting. After no more than five minutes stopped off of the Interstate, deep in the middle of Nothing, WY, two pickup-ups roll up from opposite directions. One of them is the generic white Ford F-Something50, but the other is one of a kind. It is painted in metallic olive drab with "S.W.A.T." stenciled on the door in gray. There's a light bar across the top of the cab and along the side of the bed reads, "Protecting Our Safety." Did I mention it had Texas plates? It rolled by me, drove ahead of me about 100 yards, and then proceeded to make a U-turn. I hopped on 8 and zipped out of there.


    Here's a pick I took on the dirt road at the end of the gravel off-ramp. This was taken after I adjusted my bag and before the two trucks.


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    In Tagalog (national language of the Philippines), "Mabuhay" means "hello" or "long live." I found this place on a corner in Rawlings, WY, my first gas stop. Too bad it was Sunday, other wise the store would have been open and I could have dropped in and said, "Kamusta."

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    This place has a cool sign. Seems quite fitting for the "cowboy state" of Wyoming. The place is open from 6:00 am to 2:00 am. I did not go in. From the car and bicycle out front, I assume they already had patrons at 9:00 am on Sunday. It's not even football season yet.

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    At the suggestion of a parent, I took a quick turn off at Vedauwoo Road. It's just east of Rawlings. There are some super cool rock formations and climbing.



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    I reached the Capitol around 1:00 pm, took my pics and then had lunch.

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    So far, I've ridden 1, 154 miles. Tomorrow afternoon, I'll meet my buddy Ben at Mt. Rushmore. We'll be riding down to North Carolina and then up to New York.
    #15
  16. teachnsurf

    teachnsurf Bonnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    254
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA

    Before I left this morning, I changed the set up on 8 just a bit. I moved the Therma-Rest from the back rack to the front of my tail bag to had a bit more lower back support. I can't really say if it made a big difference, but it didn't hurt so I'm going to keep in this way. I also cranked up the pre-load on my rear springs to the highest setting. Over the past two days, 8 was wobbling slightly at speed after big direction changes. Firming up the ride proved very beneficial later in the day.

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    On my way out of Cheyenne, WY, I saw this cool sign for a motel.

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    It's neat to think that these flat tops once had peaks.

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    I took my first rest at Wheatland, WY. Thank goodness for the Alt Interstate routes. I get to roll through America rather than jet by on the Slab.

    I arrived just as town was waking up.

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    This building has a neat mural on the side.

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    Wheatland is the County Seat of Platte County. Here's the court house with a memorial to the town's WWII vets fashioned after the Statue of Liberty.

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    This builing is just shy of 100 years old.

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    Getting close to South Dakota, I took this pic of a home on the range.

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    I decided to have lunch in Newcastle, WY - no relationship to the ale. As I turned a corner I saw City Hall. I was immediately struck by deja vu.

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    I found this diner in the Historic Downtown area of Newcastle.

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    Mmmm...fresh fried potato chips along with a BLT on wheat.

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    CAUGHT! The elusive jackalope.

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    The Black Hills of South Dakota is a bit of a motorcycling Mecca. I give it two thumbs up for its beauty and fast, sweeping turns. It felt like I was riding between clouds.

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    When I was just outside of Rapid City, SD, it started to pour rain. Fortunately, it only took me 20 minutes of riding around to find my motel.

    A couple hours after my arrival, Ben rolled in.

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    Old school and new school.

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    A couple of hours after Ben's arrival, we started making plans about tomorrow's morning around around the hills. Then, we realized that the sun was out and the roads were dry so we hopped on the bikes for an evening ride to Mt. Rushmore. It was a spirited ride, especially without all of my cargo.

    George, Thomas, Teddy, Abe, and Ben.

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    We arrived about an hour before the lighting ceremony so we found a place to sit, took our boots off and waited. About twenty minutes into the program, it occurred to us that after the ceremony all of these folks would be headed down the hill we all came up on, so we left before the faces were lit.

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    #16
  17. teachnsurf

    teachnsurf Bonnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    254
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Ben and I spent a lot of time riding today. Too tired to write, just pics for now.

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    #17
  18. teachnsurf

    teachnsurf Bonnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    254
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Ben and I had a very productive day of riding. Unfortunately, we didn't make it all the way to Kansas City, MO.

    Our morning started off in Chamberlain, SD, to this view from the best Super 8 in existence.

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    We soon took off and rolled to Mitchell, SD, to get a picture of the Corn Palace. For those who don't know, the entire facade of the building is made of corn products. While we were there, teens were husking corn and staple gunning the husks to the front.

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    Yesterday, my eyes were the most tired part of me. Ben mentioned that it was because of the brightness and glare. So, I started wearing my sunglasses. He was right. Eye feel much better.

    After the Corn visit, we had lunch at the old Mitchell train depot.

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    To beat the on-coming food coma, we got some coffee downtown.

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    After Mitchell, we hopped on the the road, I-90, and rode...and rode...and rode...and rode...

    Until we hit I-29, and then headed south. Yay! A new direction. "Look, my shadow is riding on a different side". I wish I had a picture of this, but I don't.

    And then we rode...and rode...and rode...and rode...

    Till Onawa, Iowa. They don't make towns like this any more.

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    We found Onawa Pub/Cafe and had some R&R. The guy running the place was very hospitable. In fact, every one we met in Onawa was friendly.

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    After a good rest in Onawa, we hoped on I-29 S and booked for Kansas City, MO. While cruising down the interstate, I kept on imagining what Lewis and Clark thought and felt on their expedition through this region. I-29 follows the Lews and Clark trail.

    After 11 hours since leaving Chamberlain, and a day of amazing riding weather, we decided it was time to park it, so we stopped short of KC, MO, and closed our day in St. Joseph, MO.

    And now, a word from Ben:

    "You know me; I'm not a man of words."
    #18
  19. teachnsurf

    teachnsurf Bonnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    254
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    It was an epic day of riding - 12 hours on the road and 497.

    In the parking lot of the Super 8, I saw this riding beast.

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    We booked it out of St. Joe to cover some serious miles. Because we're rested, Ben and I try to make our first run the longest one of the day. When we pulled up to Columbia, MO, we stopped in a motorcycle store because I'm looking for some mesh riding gloves for the very warm weather. While there, Ben decided to change his tires and get some fresh oil and a filter.

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    We went to lunch while the guys worked on Ben's bike. Ben got a loaner scooter so we could get around town.

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    This poor scooter couldn't go faster than 30 mph.


    After lunch, we shot for St. Louis. That's when things got very interesting.

    We hit traffic for the first time just out of St. Louis. Bumper to bumper stuff. We saw a car run into the back of a semi. Because traffic was so slow it wasn't that serious, just broken glass.

    After moving 30 feet in 3 minutes, we realized we needed to get out of the stop and barely go traffic. His temp gauge was blinking "engine too hot, engine too hot," and my oil-cooled motor only cools when the oil is being cooled. We had to get moving. So, we ditched the Zumo's (Ben's really cool made for motorcycle GPS system) directions and decided to head 55 South.

    About 45 miles south of St. Louis, we saw some some on the side of the interstate. As we got closer, we saw an old Cutlass sedan on the side of the road, and it was surrounded by a grass fire. The occupants were standing about 50 yards away. We're running at about 65 mph, and this is what ran through my mind, "I hope the gas tank of this car doesn't explode as I ride by." When Ben and I talked about this later, we figured the car was pulled to the side of the road because it was overheating, and the heat of the vehicle ignited the grass.

    A bit later down the road, we were about 50 yards behind a Durango pulling a boat on a trailer. All of sudden, BOOM! The left tire of trailer blew out and ends up in the middle of the highway like a flat, black doughnut. The trailer started to dance around like crazy ,and the Durango's driver ends up swerving left and right over the two southbound lanes to get control. He finally gets control. I thought to myself, "Glad I wasn't passing that guy."

    I will be passing trailers with great caution.

    Because of our detour, we had to take 60 East to get back on course. 60 East was the first secondary road of our trip, and it was amazing. We had evening light falling on green farm land and tree lined roads.

    It was getting to about deer-thirty (the time when deer come out) when we pulled into LaCenter, KY. We were tired and getting dark. Normally, we don't ride in the dark. But we were hungry so we decide to get a bite to eat at the only eats in town - Bluegrass Restaurant. Their specialty to fried catfish and hush puppies, so we had fried catfish and hush puppies for dinner. Delicious.

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    After dinner we still had 25 miles to go to get to a place to sleep. It was the longest 25 miles of the trip. We rode cautiously since we didn't know what kind of critters like to cross Kentucky country roads at night. Boy, are country roads dark.

    We finally got into Paducah, KY, and called it a day.
    #19
  20. teachnsurf

    teachnsurf Bonnie Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    254
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    After all of our sight seeing on Tuesday, Ben and I ended up a day behind schedule. Because of the 950 miles we rode over the last two days, getting to Knoxville, TN from Paducah, KY, would put us back on schedule to get to Raleigh on the Fourth. Because the straight shot was only 315 miles, we thought we would “cruise” today rather than cannonball from point to point, maybe even go down to Lynchburg, TN.

    Our first stop was Nashville, TN, so I could get a Capitol shot.

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    The bedrock of Tennessee’s Capitol.

    [​IMG]This strata is very prevalent through the state.


    After having lunch in Nashville, we decided not to go to the distillery located in a dry county. Instead, we would continue down I-40, and take alternate routes when indicated on the highway signs.

    Unfortunately, we saw no alt-route signs but got glimpse of a motorcycle store. We talked about it and decided to turn back. While there we asked the manager if there was a more interesting way to Knoxville than I-40. His eyes lit up and a big smile came across his face, “You’re going to love this.” He suggested that we take 70N into Knoxville; it’s the old highway. Ben and I were stoked. Finally, some time to just cruise down old country roads. We lubed up our chains, said thanks to the friendly folks and hooked up with the old 70N at Cookeville.

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    It was beautiful riding at a relaxed pace. After many miles of through open straights stretched between fields and twists and turns along mountain sides, we came across a lake side restaurant. We pulled in to take break, have a stretch, and a little bite to eat.

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    Mmmmm...fried gator.

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    Once we were done eating, we decided to hook back with the interstate so we could get into Knoxville before dark.

    We didn’t. We pulled into Knoxville around 9:00 pm local time, and somehow, Ben and I figured out how to turn 315 miles, as the Google directs, into a thirteen hour day.
    #20